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Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa (formerly known as Rio Mesa Center) is an outdoor laboratory for the sciences, humanities, social sciences and cultural studies, stimulating scholarship about a broad range of environmental topics associated with human and natural system interactions. After leasing the approximately 400-acre property for several years, the University of Utah took ownership in late 2015, thanks to the generous property donation by Mr. David Bonderman. 

The station supports research, education, and other academic pursuits that aid in our understanding or appreciation of ecology, the environment, and human-environment interactions. Our mission is to promote and inspire environmental scholarship on the Colorado Plateau. 

Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa emphasizes the following values as we strive to carry out our mission:

  • Water is the lifeblood of the West: Research, education and outreach collectively work to ensure a sound understanding of watersheds and the Dolores River, a key tributary of the Colorado River.
  •  Foster exchange of research knowledge:  Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa provides an outdoor laboratory for inquiry and open sharing of data and research findings.
  •  Foster environmental literacy: Through education programs, Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa trains the next generation of environmental stewards and global citizens.
  •  Land preservation: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa preserves prime river ecosystems for research and to inform restoration and land management efforts.
  • Embrace land stewardship: Sustainable living is dynamic and has evolved over time. As stewards of the Colorado Plateau, Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa explores human habitation of the past, and contemporary and future modes of dwelling in these arid lands.
  • Professional Training: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa provides training opportunities for developing professionals in connection with ongoing landscape and facilities development, maintenance and programmatic operations.

Our facilities are available for research, classes, workshops, and writers- and artists-in-residence. 


Undergraduate Research Grants  -- Current University of Utah undergraduates are encouraged to apply for this funding opportunity to support small independent projects. Awards are up to $1000 and can be used for travel expenses, analytical costs, and supplies. (Application Form)




Support the Field Station

Field House

The field house is a proposed classroom and lab facility. Students and researchers will prepare and process data in a setting that promotes interdisciplinary interaction.

The Williard L. Eccles Foundation has provided seed funds for this project.

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Give to the U - Field House

Fellowship Fund

For undergraduates engaged in independent research at Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa.

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Give to the U - Fellowship Fund

Last Updated: 2/1/24